In August, Courtney Smith, owner of the newly opened Smith Legal Group in Chesterton, Ind., decided to take a chance and signed the lease for a building to house her own law practice. With no furniture, she set up a table and chair to begin meeting with clients immediately.
“I’ve been an attorney for several years and previously worked at a large practice, but I felt like family law and guardianships were more personal,” Smith said. “I decided to branch out on my own and have a smaller practice where I had more flexibility to reach out to my community and make sure all of my clients felt like they were my only clients,” Smith said.
A passion for helping others was rooted in Smith at an early age.
“I love to help people. I was a teacher for many years before becoming an attorney, and I’ve just always believed I was put on this earth to help people,” she said.
Smith’s practice involves working closely with her clients on post-decree issues, dissolutions of marriage, child custody and child support, paternity, adoption, guardian ad litem, and guardianships. She advocates for families in need of guardianships to protect adults and children.
The Smith Legal Group team handles each of these personal and emotional cases with compassion, experience, and understanding.
“I find it extremely important to build a trusting relationship with all of my clients. When I see my clients, our visits are usually during a very tough time that they’re trying to work through, such as divorce, child custody battle, or just finding out that a loved one needs a guardian,” she said.
“I want them to know that it’s completely acceptable to come to me in this state. Whether they’re getting emotional while telling me their story or just really putting themselves out there, I need them to know that there is no judgement happening. I understand what they’re going through, and I work to make them feel as comfortable as possible,” Smith said.
Smith and her team work to ensure each client that they are going to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I tell my clients, ‘I know this isn’t your best day. It’s simply a roadblock or speed bump in your journey,’ and hopefully by the end of their time with me, I get to see them at their best and happiest,” Smith said. “And even then, our communication doesn’t stop there.”
Smith and her team work hard to keep in touch with past clients their specific needs have been met.
“I continually check back in with my clients to make sure they are feeling OK and everything is going well,” she said. “We’ll go to dinner, grab drinks, and I also have several clients who are now living in senior communities, so I’ll go visit them and play bingo or sit and have lunch with them,” she said.
She couldn’t do it alone. Smith said hand-picking her small staff was a joyous process, and she couldn’t imagine her group without the addition of both Lisa Caccavale, paralegal, and Megan Torres, office administrator, by her side.
“Lisa Caccavale brings 27 years of experience to the table. She respects the clients and their privacy and helps facilitate communication with clients and myself when I’m away from the office while keeping them comfortable and calm,” Smith said. “Megan Torres and I met through a running club and she brings years of management skills to Smith Legal Group. She has a full range of skills including accounting, office management, and receptionist skills.”
Through everything, Smith Legal Group promises one thing:
“We put clients first, and this will always hold true. It’s not about us, it’s about the clients, their needs, and understanding these needs in order to help them in the most efficient way that we can,” Smith said.
“I believe that it’s important to give back to the community. I volunteer with the Duneland Chamber and received Ambassador of the Year. No matter what, I believe you’re only as good as what you give,” she said.
The firm already had 16 clients going into its grand opening in early October and encourages anyone in the community to stop in and say hello.
For more information about Smith Legal Group or to get started with their services, visit their website at http://www.smithlg.com/#page-top, give the team a call at (219) 728-3250, or send them an email at email@example.com.